Jude helped mastermind an event for Holocaust Memorial Day. This is what he learned

An image of the logo for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Our guest blogger Jude writes about the work he and his classmates did in planning a Holocaust Memorial Day event.

When our group of fresh-faced S2s were told that we would be masterminding a Holocaust Memorial Day Event for Glasgow schools, we were so excited. It was going to be great that we would be able to help inform young schoolchildren of the dangers of letting history repeat itself. Initially, the two schools (Smithycroft and Holyrood) got to know one another, and then we paired off into mixed groups from each secondary school. The planning of the event was going well and we were very much confident in our decisions, choosing to turn the focus of the event to how life can go on. A year later, the event was upon us and, though nervous, we still felt determined about the direction the event was headed.

When I arrived at the event, I was rushed to my place at the Museums workshop to give talks on Marianne Grant and guide the pupils through her artwork. In this course, I felt pleased that I was able to pass on the information from the paintings that she made to an audience who listened and contributed excellently to the discussion on her artwork. Marianne Grant was an amazing artist who survived both physically and mentally through her artwork (sometimes getting ‘paid’ in extra rations for pieces of art commissioned by the officers in charge of the concentration camp). Most of the other people in her camp had their human rights stripped from them during this time, not getting enough food to survive healthily and being forced to work as slaves.

Throughout the event, the extent to which human rights were violated by the Nazi party during WWII and the perpetrators of modern-day genocides became clear. The two guest speakers gave us their accounts of the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust and , in so doing, showed us the inhumane treatment of people – with those persecuted in the genocides being treated like animals and forced to live in unsafe environments. The speakers, I feel, shocked everyone with what they had to say, especially seeing as this kind of treatment is unlawful and evil. In both genocides, the mass murder of a specific set of people was committed but, as well as that, those who weren’t killed were publicly humiliated and people were encouraged to harass them and exclude them from the life they had been living before. The acts people were persuaded to commit were atrocious and, while contradicting basic human decency, many people still did them. It shocks and dumbfounds me that even to this day, the same kind of effects of fearmongering can shape the hearts of people to the extent that they will break the law or even their moral values.

I feel that this event was very important in helping us build a better future for our generations to come, as it will help encourage young people to stand up for what they believe in and not let themselves be led like sheep to betray what they know to be right and turn their back on their moral values. This could be a big step in creating a better future for Scotland and even the world.¬-